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What Is the Difference Between Tuition Assistance, the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: What is the difference between TA and the Post 9/11 GI Bill? And the difference between the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill?

A: There are too many difference to name them all here, but I’ll cover some of the main ones. For starters, Tuition Assistance (TA) is an education financial aid program provided by your service branch. When using it, they can pay up to a specified amount per credit in tuition. Anything over that amount and you have to pay the difference. Many TA programs use $250 per credit and up to $4,500 per academic year as their tuition guidelines.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill is managed by the VA where they pay your tuition directly to your school. If you have three years or more of eligible service, then they would pay your tuition up to the resident level at a public school in full or up to $19,198.31 per year if attending a private school. Public or private, you still get the housing allowance each month and a book stipend once per semester (up to the $1,000 yearly cap).

Under the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB), the VA pays you up to $1,648 per month to go to school provided you had at least three years of service. Out of that amount, you have to pay your own tuition, fees and books.

However, under the Tuition Top-Up program, your tuition is paid in full by your service branch, but the amount over what they are allowed to pay is billed to the VA. They in turn deduct a dollar amount from your MGIB or a semester’s worth of time if using the Post 9/11 GI Bill from your remaining balance. Tuition Top-Up is a good way to maximize your GI Bill as TA pays most of the cost.

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